West Florida men’s tennis Head Coach Derrick Racine enters his 12th season with the Argonauts in 2009 after another successful season. Under Racine's command, the Argonauts have consistently been a national power in Division II tennis, and they have achieved two national titles (2004, 2005). The outcome of the 2007-08 season was difficult to take, since the team had higher expectations and goals.
Ranked third throughout the season, the Argonauts fell short to national champs Armstrong-Atlantic in the national championships semifinals. For 2009, the Argonauts enter the season ranked ninth in the country, and fourth in the South Region.
The Argonauts have graduated five seniors, including Eduardo Cavasotti, Nicolas Barrientos, Diego Zorzi, Luiz Bernardi, and Gui Jasmin. After a great college career, including All-American honors in his senior year, Cavasotti enters his first year as an assistant coach and will experience the game from the other side. Cavasotti will bring his four-year playing experience, one for Shorter College and three for the Argonauts, to pass on to the current players. This year, a young team will fill in as five top newcomers join the three regular starters remaining from 2007-08. This year the Argonauts count with the experience of only two seniors, and a returning sophomore. With this mix of maturity and young talent, the Argonauts once again have set high expectations and goals as a team.
Luis Arboleda enters his senior year and brings high hopes to the Argonauts. Arboleda played in the fifth or sixth spot in singles and in the top doubles spot last year, getting ranked No. 13 in doubles with Cavasotti. Arboleda has a powerful game and is expected to be an anchor for the Argonauts in singles and doubles once again. Adding experience to the lineup, Jose Ycaza also enters his senior year. Last season, Ycaza was an important element for the Argos in the bottom line, playing at the third spot in doubles and sixth spot in singles. With an all around game, Ycaza will be playing for the Argonauts for the second consecutive time, as he has transferred from TAMU after his sophomore year. Patrick Bateman is a returning sophomore who has earned the 2008 GSC Freshman of The Year last season. Patrick had an amazing season playing in the fifth singles position and second doubles position, getting ranked as high as No. 12 with former Argonaut Nicolas Barrientos. Bateman will be a very strong bet for the Argonauts in singles and doubles in 2009. Members of the 2008 national semifinalist squad and returning Argonauts, Arboleda, Ycaza and Bateman are expected to lead the UWF team to another successful year.
To mix it up, five freshmen are expected to play in the top eight players, including four players in the top singles positions. Top newcomers include Kevin Ducros, a freshman from France, who has won the 2008 UWF Fall Fling defeating former Argonaut Barrientos in the final. Ducros has an overall game and will be making his debut as an Argonaut as he is expected to be playing in the top positions in singles and doubles. Andrey Pozhidaev, a freshman from Russia, had a great tennis career before UWF. Pozhidaev became an Argonaut last fall, and already is ranked No. 15 in singles and No. 9 in doubles (w/Gunnels) in the South Region. Pozhidaev also teamed with Arboleda to reach the final of the UWF Fall Fling Tournament. Pozhidaev is expected to play in the top spots in both singles and doubles. Nathan Rosenfeld is another freshman who transfers from Miami International University to substitute one of the top players who graduated last year. Rosenfeld is a freshman with great experience in the junior playing. Roselfeld has a powerful game and will play in the first spots during his year debut as an Argonaut.
Other two freshmen are expected to play in the top eight players. Sean Gunnels in a native from Mobile, Ala. Gunnels has had a great high school career, finishing his senior year undefeated with a 25-0 record, and being ranked as high as No. 25 in the southeast division in singles. Gunnels became also became an Argonaut last fall and already got ranked No. 9 in doubles (w/ Pohzidaev) in the South Region. Mike Lue, a freshman from Canada, is the eighth member of the squad. Mike Lue has had great results in juniors, getting ranked in Canada in both singles and doubles. Mike Lue has an overall game and is going to be a great addition to the Argonauts in the next future years.
To complete the full rosters, four more players join the Argonauts. Leandro Schujmann, the Brazilian native transferring from Division I Liberty University; Rob Fair, a returning junior from Pensacola, who previously played for University of North Alabama; Mallory Leighty a freshman from Lake City, Fla.; and Lucas Parrau, a freshman from Argentina.
The Argos will open their season against top GSC rival University of West Alabama on February 10th, at the Ralph “Skeeter” Carson Tennis Complex located at the UWF main campus. Following the season opener the Argonauts will meet defending national champions Armstrong-Atlantic. The Argonauts return to their home court on February 19th.